ER Doctor Who Recovered From Covid-19 And Went Back To Treating Patients Dies By Suicide
Trigger warning: The content in this article might include graphic references to self-harm and suicide that might be upsetting for some.
Get help: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the United States: 1-800-273-8255. Contact International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide for crisis center information throughout the world.
There’s no denying that the current health crisis has presented an excess of stress for people worldwide. Unemployment rates are at supreme highs, death rates are at unprecedented extremes, and every day people are living in fear for the health and lives of their loved ones and themselves. No doubt, healthcare workers on the frontlines of combatting the virus have it particularly difficult. Not only are they being exposed to the virus at every turn, they are also seeing a mass increase in death amongst their patients.
No one truly knows why someone could be driven to taking their own life, but for a recently deceased New York City emergency room doctor, the stresses around Covid-19 could certainly have played a factor.
Dr. Lorna Breen, 49, had recovered from Covid-19 and continued to treat coronavirus patients before her death.
According to an interview with the late doctor’s father Philip Breen she was at the frontlines of the current pandemic and a hero.
“Lorna Breen died Sunday morning by suicide in Charlottesville, Virginia,” her father told CNN. “She went down in the trenches and was killed by the enemy on the front line. She loved New York and wouldn’t hear about living anywhere else. She loved her coworkers and did what she could for them.”
According Lorna’s father, the doctor had told him that she and colleagues clocked 18-hour workdays. They slept in hallways and were extremely overloaded with work. The doctor contracted COVID-19 and took sick leave from work for a week and a half to recover. Eventually, she returned back to work but, according to her father, could not last through a 12-hour shift but was compelled to help anyway. At some point, a friend of Breen’s, who is also a doctor, visited her at her home and encouraged her to visit Virginia where she could be amongst her family and friends.
Soon after she’d arrived she was admitted to the University of Virginia Hospital for exhaustion.
After a week at the hospital, Lorna Breen left to stay with her mother. Last weekend, she went to visit and stay with her sister. During her visit, she died. According to CNN, “Officers responded Sunday to a call for medical assistance and identified the victim as Breen, the Charlottesville Police Department said in a news release.
She was brought to the University of Virginia Hospital once more, and “later succumbed to self-inflicted injuries.”